Three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo says he is “convinced” Italian rider Andrea Iannone is innocent of the doping allegations brought against him.
Iannone has been handed an 18-month suspension for doping by FIM after he tested positive for anabolic steroid late last year.
The 30-year-old insists he is innocent and that the drugs test picked up contamination from meat he had consumed, but the panel refused to accept this explanation during deliberations in March.
Iannone intends to appeal the ruling in the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
In a social media post on Tuesday, Lorenzo posted a photo of himself and Iannone together in Switzerland and wrote beneath the photo that he believes Iannone is innocent.
“Yesterday we went for a walk on the lake and chatted for a while,” he wrote. “We laugh remembering some anecdotes and I also asked him about his issue.
“He is the only one who knows the truth, but when I was listening to him I saw him serene and his arguments convinced me. Like everyone, surely Andrea has made mistakes in the past, but I think this time the ‘mistake’ was not voluntary.
“So I hope and I wish that sooner than later he’ll be considered free to practice what he does best. In the end, you may like his ‘character’ or not but it is clear that the boy has talent and speed. And as I said yesterday: ‘Talent is neither bought nor forgotten.'”